19 March 2012
My last visit to The Westovians, was the Snow White panto in January. Much hilarity, jolly japes and custard pie throwing, a great night, but was really looking forward to getting back on track with some gritty acting from the South Shields crew. Nightmare tells the rolling story of deceit, suspicion and blackmail all woven together in a giant spider web of a tale.
The tale centres around Marion Bishop (Val Dawson) an elderly romantic novel writer, who is living out her last days, who would have thought that her final few weeks would have made a great crime novel. Her only living relation Raymond (Dean Jukes) her nephew is a bit of a cad, and is seeking a windfall from her, monies owed from a trust fund.
The kindly doctor Thorne (David Cooke), takes a lot of interest in the well-being of his patient, maybe he has more of a vested interest than one would like, especially with the introduction of Laura (Corinne Kilvington) an experienced nurse from London, who doesn't quite seem to fit the bill.
Katherine (Jessica Ingoe), a cheery soul, is always on hand to lend moral and supportive care, with a brother Michael (Andrew Dawson) with learning difficulties, she has had first hand practice of looking after and tending to the needy.
Doris, the local gossip and grocery fetcher is also on hand to bring a wry smile to the lips of those who will listen, or be surprised by her tittle tattle.
The play was great with everything you would expect in a thriller, with twists,turns and thinking back to various parts in the play, to say 'ahhh' yes, that did happen. I often wonder how such things get written, how many times does the writer trip himself up, or forgetting scenarios.
This was put together very well, with a great cast, the majority I have seen before, but a few new on me.
The acting was of the usual standard of The Westovians, with the interactions between Cooke and Dawson (doctor and patient), Jukes and Kilvington being the mainstay of the night.
I did hear a couple of prompts, but I put that down to first night tingles, over anything less professional.
I have never seen so many of the audience jump with the introduction of weather sounds. The claps of thunder so loud that my heart was still beating furiously a few minutes later. Michael, Andrew Dawson's character, also contributed to the jumpiness of the crowd, bursting into the great setting of the living-room after being hurt.
All together a well acted, well put together show, great directing by Peter Dawson, produced by Carol Cooke and great sound and light by Miriam Beber and Adam Ross.
Nightmare is a fairly serious play that deals with the complexities of greed and mistrust, but some good snippets of humour crept in, that kept me and the crowd well entertained.
If your pacemaker can withstand the thunder, then get yourself along.
Nightmare runs until Saturday 24 March